AACS Madrigal Singers European Tour 2001
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Sunday, June 17

The Madrigals provided music for a Mass this morning in the same church they performed at last night.

After Mass we had lunch around Aosta and then boarded the bus for Chanavey valley for some short hikes in the foothills of the Alps. We returned to Aosta for dinner and then had a "talent night" in the hotel piano lounge.

Enjoy the pictures!

Around Aosta town square

Afternoon devotions on the bus

Mail Call!

An incredible waterfall on the way to Chanavey

Wild flowers for the director from the Basses!

Off to find a place to eat in Aosta

Talent Night in the hotel piano lounge

Reflections on the Day - Loris Nebbia

During the Mass, the Madrigals sang four songs. The students were able to recognize many parts of the service, conducted entirely in Italian and Latin, from their study of “The Gloria.” Erin Slenk said she figured out many words that were similar to Spanish vocabulary. Jeremy said he recognized “The Lord’s Prayer” from the rhythm of it. Again, the group was warmly received and as we strolled back to the hotel, an elderly woman stops us to say “Bravi.”

In the afternoon, we travel to the National Park in the region near Aosta. The beautiful clear weather confirms the decision to abandon our original plan to visit the city of Turin, in favor of a day in the Alps. We begin the journey with devotions, given by Cindy about the blessings associated with exercising our faith. Worship on the bus with 2 guitars and Jon’s mellow drum rises from happy hearts. “A day in your courts, Lord, is better than a thousand elsewhere,” increases in meaning as we look around us at God’s handmade “courtyard.”

The Madrigals are livelier on this bus trip, than they were when we first entered the Alpine region. Now, the bus comes alive with exclamations about each castle we pass. The uproar is continuous, because if we are not admiring a castle on the mountain side, we are pointing out another charming little church -- white-walled with a brown clock on the steeple and a sturdy brown roof-- or the next incomparable view of the mountains. Each turn in the road reveals a better view and we are reminded of C.S. Lewis’ novel, “The Last Battle, where when the children enter paradise, they find each successive view more vivid. Indeed as we climb higher up the winding roads – full of admiration for our skilled bus driver—the air is clearer, so clear that every leaf on the trees bright with green growth, stands out. Words like pristine, clarity, sparkling, awesome and brilliant have new, palpable meaning to us.

The park provides so much fun. There are trails to explore, mountains to climb, flowers to admire, and in varied groups we do all these things. It’s a joyful place, but cold. We walk through mist dropping from the mountaintops, and rain falls in spurts. Several of the men, including the Bass section, climb up the grassy part of the mountain and this is where Joe Coleman discovers something new. As he said when he was explaining why his khaki pants were stained with mud and grass, “I stepped on a rock and I thought it had roots, but it turned out it didn’t, so I fell.”

Hiking in the mountains was rewarding, and brisk. I wore a wool sweater and a jacket and I had to keep moving to stay warm. We found a charming wooden chalet and enjoyed the richest hot chocolate while looking out a lace-curtained window over the geranium filled window box to the view of the mountain beyond. Cindy spoke for us all when she said, “You run out of superlatives in a place like this.” Amen.

Today's Agenda
Morning Breakfast in the hotel
11:00 am Mass participation in the Chiesa Collegiata di Sant' Orso
Afternoon Excursion by coach to Chanavey valley
Evening - Talent Night Dinner